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Class manual



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SCREEN PRINTING ACADEMY Intro Screen Printing (An Introduction) 3-10

Chapter 6 Breaking Down a Job 69-70

Chapter 1 Introduction to Art 11-26

Chapter 7 Production Tracking 71-73

Chapter 2 Films & Output 27-30

Chapter 8 Additional Tips & Advice 74-86

Chapter 3 Screen Room & Screen Prep 31-46

Troubleshooting Tips 87-90 Marketing Tips 91-96

Chapter 4 Setting Up a Print Job 48-63

Production Charts 97-99

Chapter 5 Curing Parameters 64-68

CONTRIBUTING INSTRUCTORS Ryan Moor, Mark Berryman, Marvin Guillot, Nick Wood, TJ Stepper, Don Garrison, and Shawn Zimmerman



WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF SCREEN PRINTING! An introduction Screen printing (also referred to as silk screening, screen process printing and serigraphy) is a unique method of transferring or printing graphic images, and is considered by many to be one of the oldest methods of printing. It was first used by the Chinese and the Japanese to decorate clothing, reproduce artwork, and publish posters with the latest words of wisdom of the emperor. Over 1000 years ago it was discovered that woven silk stretched on a wood frame, with a stencil image attached to the bottom with glue, could be used to reproduce the same image over and over on different materials by forcing ink or paints through the opening in the stencil. That's screen printing! Today, screen printing is a multi billion dollar a year industry. It integrates exciting industries like fashion, design, sports, music, education, corporate America and much more! There are thousands of niche markets to go after and lots of profit potential for anyone who desires it in this industry. There's nothing like creating taking a concept from initial design and seeing the first print come off the press! You're entering a fun, exciting, and rewarding industry! Welcome to screen printing! The following basic components of Screen Printing will be discussed: - Art Or Design - Frame And The Mesh - Stencil Carrying The Image - Ink - Squeegee - Press System - Substrate (material) To Be Printed There have been many advancements over the years in materials, techniques, and equipment that allow today's screen printer to use the process to print almost anything anywhere. This course is intended to cover some of these advances in screen printing, and helping to integrate the new ideas into your printing efforts. You will develop your ability to recognize and reduce variables and problems within the process to achieve 'the perfect print'. 3

(A DEEPER INTRODUCTION TO SCREEN PRINTING) The basic idea in silk screening is to create a screen through which ink can form designs on a large number of duplicates. You create a positive image (film) in a black ink which is placed onto a UV light sensitive emulsion coated screen that is tightly stretched over a wood or metal frame. When the emulsion is exposed, the part that is exposed to light "cures" (hardens), while the unexposed portion blocked out by the black positive image (film) remains soft. When washed out, the soft emulsion is simply washed away, leaving a "negative" image of the design. The mesh of the screen (synthetic silk these days) is open (like fine screen wire; hence, the name "screen", so that ink can pass through the unexposed (where the emulsion was washed away) portions only -- like a stencil. The frame holding the designed silk is placed against the object to be printed, ink applied and a squeegee pulled across to force a small amount of ink from the top, through the screen, onto the receiving item (T-shirt, sign, etc.). The screen printed object is removed and set out to dry and the next object is inserted. Obviously, literally thousands of prints can be made from a single screen at a very economical price. When additional colors are desired, a separate screen is prepared for each color (the artwork has to be color separated in order to split it for multiple screens). Most screen printers have drying racks or commercial dryers designed for the size and type objects the operator does most. The biggest (and most costly) job is setting up the design or copy on the screens. This is why a job of 24 t-shirts can cost up to $200. The first t-shirt bears the cost of setting up; the rest represent only the receiving item's cost, overhead plus a fraction of a cent for the ink. Some printer's store "used" screens when they expect additional orders of the same signs (like real-estate signs); otherwise, they wash them out when the job is completed and use them again for the next job -- one screen will often last for years. Usually, customers are charged a set-up fee and a price per item. Example: $50 set-up, plus cost of printed garment. Since printers are not required to tell customers when they save a screen. They can charge a new set-up even if they don't have to set up the next order. This fee is also an incentive for the customer to order as many items as possible at one time. Of course, there are many different levels and variations of screen printing -- from a small, hobby operations to an "octopus" looking machine, where up to four, six and up to eight different colors can be applied in rapid fashion, using plastisol inks (Used mainly in t-shirt printing). It is easy to find very expensive equipment for this business: However, it's also just as easy to find a company that offers an affordable start-up and training package solution. The total cost to set up a small silk screening studio should be in the neighborhood of $500 to $2,000, depending on the size of the operation and the amount of equipment.


What should you expect to make? This varies depending on the type of jobs you print, the quantity, and how many colors. With efficient equipment, streamlined operating procedures, and good sales efforts, you can maximize profit, taking on larger and more complex jobs. A manual screen printer can literally make more then a lawyer or doctor per hour fairly easily! There are numerous screen printing jobs available. Including t-shirts, hats, printing name tags (on plastic or metal holders), bumper stickers (on self-stick paper), banners (buy them blank), designs on flags or ensigns (also purchased blank), political posters, (paper or plastic), street signs (for the city) and truck signs (fleets), souvenirs, advertising stands -- and thousands of other possibilities. Some screen printers specialize in one or two phases of the art (depending on the market), allowing them to keep mostly one size of screens, holders and drying racks. As a screen printer, you will be able to judge which jobs in your area could be most economically produced by screening – by simply showing potential customers how you can save them money and give them a better product! It's better to find a niche, because if you don't, you could be niched! To get started in the screen printing business, accumulate your equipment, learn to operate it efficiently (ruin some materials), read about the art and most importantly, invest in training! When you are ready, know exactly what you can and cannot do (DO NOT experiment on your customers -- there is too much to lose) and seek only those that you can do well. Start contacting businesses that could use your services -- show them samples and prices. Tell them how long it will take (since you are local, this will be one of your strongest selling points), Be sure to deliver when you promise! Place ads in the local paper, and always leave a business card so people can call you to bid on jobs. Keep accurate business records. Most importantly, keep a copy of what the customer approves to go on his order. Have the customer review AND INITIAL the order sheet showing exactly (spelling, layout, color) how the products are to appear. Ask the customer to please check carefully for any errors BEFORE you run off 100 or 1000 shirts! This attention to detail will save you time, money and many headaches. In screen printing; there are projects you can complete instead of commercial jobs, or in addition to, or between jobs. Buying and printing your own objects for resale is a great way to increase profits. Ceramic mugs with the school or town emblem, ceramic tiles with scenes, fancy keep off the grass signs, or even something to hang on a small suction cup in the car (BABY ON BOARD), are just a few examples.



SCREEN PRINT TERMINOLOGY Screens degreasing screen frame tri loc registration static frame roller frame screen fabric mesh mesh count mesh tension vacuum frame reclaiming Printing squeegee side shirt side flood stroke print stroke off contact on contact bleed halo moire pattern off-contact Photo Processes Emulsion Registration Image alignment exposure unit overexposure diazo bridging dot dot gain opaquing resolution right-reading sensitizer Print Terms silk screen/serigraphy/screen printing edition monoprint monotype chop proof solid substrate

Printing squeegee side flood stroke print stroke off contact bleed halo moire pattern

Photographic and Darkroom Terms film positive/transparency water proof film film negative continuous tone halftone spot color

Inks Plastisol Water base Solvent UV viscosity high density ink curable reducer

Registration stroke trapping registration marks center marks masking tension pre registration template tri loc system Color color separation

Color color separation opaque transparent process colors duotone Other squeegee squeegee sharpener durometer flood coat Rubylith Coroplast table adhesive blockout scoop coater photo emulsion table adhesive solvent resist tape ghost image haze extender/soft hand base Plastisol base tinting compounds puff additive stretch additive

Stencils direct photo emulsion stencil block out paper cut stencils direct screen filler stencil drawing fluid stencils handcut film stencils capillary film positive stencil negative stencil watermark sizing Clean up pressure washer surfactants haze remover solvent stripper screen reclaimer /tri sodium phosphate (TSP) degrease


THE 8 KEY ELEMENTS IN SCREEN PRINTING: 1. Artwork: The artwork you start art with is important. If you have jagged or grainy artwork, you will reproduce jagged or grainy artwork, REMEMBER: Garbage in, garbage out. Programs for doing art in-house are available, or art services on the internet will supply you with screen printing artwork. If you fax them a logo, they can redraw it for you and send you a file to be used for the making of screens. Time is money. If you are not a brilliant artist it is wise to use a vector art program or plugin which is a Corel Draw supplementary program. These quick and easy tools ensure that you will have high quality artwork in the end in less than half the time. Corel Draw is an optimal program for screen printers because it is easy to use, it can vector and resize images, and there are lots of different additions available for it. Photoshop can be used as well, but this is more for full color printing like simulated process or four color process, etc., which is not good to start out with since there are special techniques to master before moving into this realm. Illustrator is another program often used by screen printers who have graphic experience. Similar to Corel Draw, it is vector although a little harder to learn as you begin for the novice screen printer and graphic artist. In order to prepare your print properly you need to use one of the programs above to color separate the artwork if the artwork is multiple color. 2. Film Positives: Your screen emulsion or stencil exposes to light. The goal of a film positive is to block the light from reaching the area of the screen under the image area. Since the goal of the film positive is to block light, primarily you would want to achieve the blackest print possible. There are several types of printers and films you can use. Optimally it is best to use an inkjet (Epson) printer with a water proof film that retains and holds the BLACKEST ink (R-Film WP). For every color you have, you will print it out as a black plate on a separate film. For example, if you have a logo that is Red & Black, you would separate the two colors from themselves and print each out, changing the red to black for printing and then printing the black. Each of these would be printed on their own film by a printer. This is simply known as art separation. If the colors are touching in the final version of the logo, you need to have what is called “trap or choke�. Basically, it's overlapping the artwork by a small margin, just enough so you can register the colors with no space between them. On the films, you will also place registration marks. These marks usually are a circle with a vertical and horizontal line passing through it. These marks will be on the same spot on each film. This will help you register your colors later it's also a good idea to include center marks so the design will be accurately centered on the platen. 3. Screen Making: Screen printing was originally referred to as silk screen printing because, the screen mesh used to be made from silk. As this is no longer the case (now they are made from a polyester weave), the name changed. A screen is simply a wooden or metal frame that has a fine mesh stretched over and attached to it. Some examples would be 60, 83, 110, 125, 200, 230 and so on with various numbers in between. The lower the mesh count, the less detail you can print and the thicker the ink lays down. Choosing the proper mesh for the job is an art form one, in


THE 8 KEY ELEMENTS CONTINUED: time you'll learn through testing and results. It's always a good idea to keep production records for consistency from the beginning of every job. Before you apply your stencil to your screen, it is important to clean it or degrease it. This takes all the dust and grease particles off the screen mesh, allowing the emulsion to adhere. The actual process of screen making is quite simple. Although time consuming, the most common technique is using a light sensitive liquid emulsion. Capillary film is still used. Emulsion can be used under a light-safe yellow light so that you still can see what you are doing, while the UV light is filtered out to not effect the emulsion. A scoop coater is needed to apply the emulsion. Pour emulsion into the scoop coater and place it on a vertical screen. Pressing up against the screen and pulling up, lay a thin layer of emulsion on the outside of the screen. Turn the screen around and do the same for the inside of the screen. Emulsion thickness EQUALS ink thickness. For thicker stencils it's a good idea to dry between coatings. Once the emulsion dries, you can "expose" the screen. A good light source is needed for this process. The exposure unit is basically a box with a glass top, a compression lid or rubber blanket, and a vacuum frame. The light source is contained in this box. To expose a screen, take the film positive you created and place it on the glass top with the right reading face up. Take the dried screen and place it on the glass top with the film positive under it. The screen mesh will be touching the film positive. As the lid is closed, the compression lid presses the foam against the screen and the positive providing contact At this point, the length of time is dependent on your emulsion and light source. This is something you can talk to your supplier about. It's really a matter of testing. Most problems occur in this stage, so it is critical that you understand this process through testing, training and trial and error. The better you are in this area, the better your prints will be. For a black light unit a 3 to 5 minute exposure time is the norm, but will vary as already mentioned due to emulsion thickness and mesh count. Once the image is exposed into your emulsion, you can take the screen to a washout booth and lightly spray both sides of the screen with water. A garden hose with a sprayer on the end works well for this procedure. You do not want a lot of pressure but you do want some. After waiting for a minute, you can go back and begin spraying your screen with water. Spray on the outside of the frame, or the side that was touching the film. The inside will naturally be softer because the light had to shine through the emulsion to get to that side. A good exposure will yield less scum (softness) on the inside. As you spray down the screen, you will see the image on your screen. This is because, wherever there was black on the film, the light did not shine through. Since the light could not expose the emulsion, it remained water soluble. Wherever the light shine through the emulsion, it hardened and will not wash away. Lay out newsprint and pat the inside (squeegee side) with one sheet, DO NOT wipe then let the screen(s) dry. You will want to check for pinholes (little holes caused by dust, dirt) and block out with emulsion or a commercial blocking agent, then dry. After the screen has completely dried expose again (post –hardening) for a longer lasting stencil. This can be done in your exposure unit or out in the bright sun. Using fans and drying racks are a good idea in your darkroom to speed up the drying process.


THE 8 KEY ELEMENTS (CONT.): 4. Printing Press: Choosing a printing press is critical! Remember, your screen printing press prints t-shirts, t-shirts = money, the faster and more concise you print those shirts, the more money you make! You may want to stay away from all-in-one units and similar machines. Because everything is packed into one, they don't operate as effectively as rotary presses. If you are looking for a space saving option, the LowRider dryer is actually a high production space saving press/ dryer combo system that puts the traditional all in one unit to shame and even out performs other manual presses and dryers in ½ the space! What to look for in a press is a solid frame, joystick or micro registration, a quality construction that will last a long time, a proven track record in the industry, and rotating platens and screens that spin quickly. Outside of this, startups don't need much. 5. Conveyer dryer and flash unit: To actually cure the ink, you need a heat source to reach 320 degrees for your ink. If you can reach 320 degrees in 1 second, it's cured. If it's 10 seconds, it's cured. As long as it reaches 320 degrees, you are good. A flash unit is a unit that you place over your platen (the arm that you place the shirt on). This flash unit is meant to flash the ink just long enough where it is not cured and it is not wet. This allows you to print colors on top of colors if needed, and you will need it! If you have a flash unit over a platen, it has to reach 320 degrees to cure the ink. Ryonet sells a laser temp gun, when the shirt comes out point the laser beam at the ink and it will give you a temperature reading, 320 is the magic number! This heat may eventually warp your platens, it will also heat your platen up enough that when you put another shirt on it and print, it might semi cure the ink in your screens, causing a clogging and poor printing Allow cool down time on long runs because you would print white on a shirt, flash it, and when the shirt comes back around to you, it needs a second print. This gives you a good vibrant white. If you are printing a color on a dark shirt, you would also print a white under base, flash it, then print an exact image with a different screen over top of it with the color you need. To increase your output a conveyer dryer is needed to increase your production. When you finish printing a shirt, you pull it off of your platen and place it on the conveyer dryer. Basically, it's a dryer that has a belt on it that goes through a tunnel of heat. When it comes out the other side, it is cured. Again, use a heat gun when the shirt is about to come out, you point the laser beam at the ink and it will give you a temperature reading. Remember, 320 is the magic number! 6. Inks and miscellaneous: The ink you will use is a Plastisol ink. There are so many manufacturers and types of inks, it's good to find one and stay with it. Consistency is the key to success! You will also need squeegees. A squeegee is basically a handle with a rubber blade on the end. This blade is what you use to push or pull the ink through the screen and onto the shirt. There are so many miscellaneous items that it would be good to talk to Ryonet about what you need to get started.


THE 8 KEY ELEMENTS (CONT.): 7. Screen prep and registration: Your scoop coater cannot reach all areas of the screen, so you want to tape out the areas that did not have emulsion. There are special tapes made for this. If you have a one color design, placing the screen on your press is quite simple. If you have more than one color, this is where the registration marks are needed. After placing your first screen on the press, you would do a test print. Place some ink on the screen and rest a squeegee on the frame close to the head. Pull the ink across the screen and onto the shirt then flash it. Next, take your second screen and place on the next head. Align the registration marks on the screen to the marks on the print you made. Once in place, you can lock them in and adjust the joystick or micro registrations if necessary. Once locked in, do a test print. If everything is registered, you can tape up the registration marks on your screen and you are ready to print. you can lock them in and adjust the joystick or micro registrations if necessary. Once locked in, do a test print. If everything is registered, you can tape up the registration marks on your screen and you are ready to print. 8. Your first print: You will be working upside down when you print t-shirts. The collar will be closest to you. After placing the shirt on the platen, pull your screen down, look between the shirt and the platen, you should have a gap. This is called your off-contact. You need about 1/8� between the screen and the platen. This will give you just enough room to make a print and allow for the screen to snap away from the shirt which gives you a clean print. Some people will push their squeegee and others will pull, whatever is comfortable to you is best for you. Most printers pull the squeegee, which means that when you pull down the screen, grasp the squeegee and pull the ink towards you. You want to have the squeegee at an angle, if you go too much of an angle, you will get a heavy print The good thing is, if the first print does not work out for you, you can print it again, right over top of it. The registration of the machine will be the same so even if you rotated the press and came back to it, it would still print good. Rule of thumb; Angle and slow speed for light inks, less angle and a faster print for dark inks, especially printing on an under base.

Helpful Information: Complete resource for Q&A and How To Guides & Videos.


ch. 1 CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION TO ART Explanation Of Jpeg's, Gifs, And Bmp, Spot Color, Separations With Photoshop, 4 Color Process, Corel, Spot Process Separations Studio, and Assorted Graphic Programs

(Don't let this section overwhelm you as it's for learning purposes.) 11

JPEG The term actually stands for "Joint Photographic Experts Group," because that is the name of the committee that developed the format. But you don't have to remember that because even computer nerds will think you're weird if you mention what JPEG stands for. Instead, remember that a JPEG is a compressed image file format. JPEG images are not limited to a certain amount of color, like GIF images are. Therefore, the JPEG format is best for compressing photographic images. Thus if you see a large, colorful image on the Web, it is most likely a JPEG file. While JPEG images can contain colorful, high-resolution image data, it is a lossy format, which means some quality is lost when the image is compressed. If the image is compressed too much, the graphics become noticeably "blocky" and some of the detail is lost. Like GIFs, JPEGs are cross platform, meaning the same file will look the same on both a Mac and PC.

GIF Both GIF and JPEG images are widely used on the Web and are supported by all Web browsers and other Web software. The choice is usually a simple one. Charts, screen shots and technical drawings are compressed best as GIFs, and GIFs only hold up to 256 colors (8bit color). Most photographs are better as a JPEG, which supports 24-bit color and has the option of several compression levels (the choice depends on how much degradation you can tolerate). If you save a scanned image in both formats, you may see a dramatic difference in file size between them.

BMP BMP (short for bitmap) is a graphic format used internally by the Microsoft Windows graphics subsystem, and used commonly as a simple graphics file format on that platform. BMP files are usually not compressed, typically much larger than compressed image file formats such as JPEG or PNG. Despite its shortcomings, the simplicity of BMP and its widespread use in Microsoft Windows and elsewhere, as well as the fact that this format is well-documented and free of patents, makes it a very common format. As such, many image programs are likely able to read in BMP files.

SPOT COLORS First, a spot color is a specially mixed ink that is applied on the printing press, as opposed to a mix of the four inks which make up process printing. Spot colors can be produced in a much more vibrant range of colors, and can have special characteristics which aren't available in process inks, such as day-glow or metallic ink. Because they only use one screen, spot colors can reduce the cost of printing if you limit your ink choices to black and one spot color. For example, if you choose to print a red and black logo in process inks, you will actually need three inks on three screens (with associated , etc): Magenta, Yellow, and Black. A second reference to spot color concerns the way it is printed in the design. A spot color does not have any gradient or halftones, it only has spots of color in solid form. There is no shading or blending of colors. It is simply one block of ink. Obviously most standard fonts would be printed in spot color as well as a lot of basic logos and vector graphics. 12

A gradient image refers to an image that has tones or shades in it. It is not a spot color or one block of color, but rather, it has depth. Gradient imaging can be accomplished with screen printing by using halftones to immolate the gradient. In order to output halftones you need a half tone compatible printer, also known as a post script printer. The easiest way to print half tones is to combine a 3rd party RIP Software to (Raster Image Processor) to an inkjet Epson printer. The RIP converts the printer into a post script printer which can print optimal positive films with halftones and opaque black ink.

FULL COLOR IMAGES For screen printing purposes there are 3 different types of full color images. Four color process, simulated process, and index. Today, four color process and simulated process are the most popular and what we will be covering in this book.

RESOLUTION - RESOLUTION! If you are working in any of the file types above, understand high resolution is key. Remember garbage in, garbage out. Avoid low resolution images unless you covert them into vector format (explain later). An optimal resolution is 300dpi.


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4 COLOR PROCESS (A BRIEF EXPLANATION) Different combinations of cyan, magenta, yellow and black can create millions of different colors, but only a fraction of the colors that a human eye can see. Take green, as an example. If we add 25% magenta to it, it will become forest green. If we take out half the cyan, it will become lime green. If we take out half the yellow, it will become turquoise. Even adding or subtracting as little as 1 or 2 percent of one of the inks can change the color dramatically. Screening Inks To Create Lighter And Darker Shades When colors are screened, as in the 50% screen of cyan in BROWN, above, the same ink is used as 100% cyan. To make it appear lighter, it is reduced to a pattern of dots. Smaller dots make the ink appear lighter, larger dots make it appear darker. Process screen printing is typically done in a few different ways. Offset halftone angles and single line halftone angle known as the Flamenco method. Do to the variables involved with the screen and shirt fabric we recommend using a single line halftone angle, (61 degrees or 22.5 Degrees). Using the flamenco method is much easier to accomplish and on t-shirts looks just as good! Professional graphics applications all will separate a color document at the click of a button. For example, let's look at a photo of a model on a boat, both in its separated state, and as it would be composed, or combined, on the press:

Process Separations From L - R: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, and Composed Each of the four colors you see above will be output to a separate positive, burned onto separate screens, and inked on the press, wet on wet, so the colors can print on top of each other. After the substrate has been impressed with each inked screen, the composed image will appear, in full color. Four color process inks are transparent so they only work on light garments, since they have to mix wet on wet, it is difficult to achieve a quality four color process print on a white underbase.


Someone could continually create color documents in Microsoft Word but those documents will never be printed on a printing press. Microsoft Word, Microsoft Publisher, and Microsoft PowerPoint are NOT professional graphics programs. They cannot separate colors into their component CMYK colors. They don't even know what CMYK colors are, because they are RGB applications. If you want a color document printed on a printing press, and don't have professional graphics software like Corel Draw or Adobe Photoshop, then you must have a Service Bureau or a professional graphic artist lay out your document.

CORELDRAW AND THE ANATOMY OF A VECTOR ILLUSTRATION Illustrations created in all major vector drawing programs have a definite anatomy and share a common pattern. Whether you use CorelDraw or Adobe® Illustrator®, you will find that this pattern exists even though each program may define the parts differently. This section takes apart a vector drawing so you can see how it is put together and able to understand it. The illustration section will better help you translate the terms from one application to another. The pattern of vector illustrations is best viewed or represented as a hierarchy or "tree". The illustration itself would be at the top and its various parts would descend below it: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

An ILLUSTRATION is composed of vector objects OBJECTS each having one or more paths PATHS which are composed of line segments LINE SEGMENTS that have anchor points ANCHOR POINTS at each existing end.

The biggest hurdle for most art departments is simplifying the process without having to hire a Corel genius to do it. Artists tend to lose creativity when saddled with the laborious tasks of breaking down a vector along with being creative. Adobe Illustrator is even more labor intensive although over the years artists have had to adapt and tend to like this program for graphics. CorelDRAW has the same capabilities as Illustrator but in a more “user friendly” format yet it still takes time to edit graphics, fit text to paths, weld objects and effectively complete multiple assorted tasks in a reasonable amount of time. Art and screens for the most part are “breakeven” items in a screen print shop. I've never made profit on art or screens and was quite happy if they at least paid for themselves. HIRE A DESIGNER? OUTSOURCE MY DESIGN NEEDS? BUY PROFESSIONAL GRAPHICS DESIGN SOFTWARE AND TRY TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO BE AN ARTIST? We don't think these are the best options for managing your graphics needs. We offer a better way to control the design process. As you may soon find, graphics design can be a source of tremendous business opportunity or a source of frustration, bottlenecks, and a competitive disadvantage. The right graphic design tools and training resources are the keys to your graphic design success. 15

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